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Classmates and competition in grad school

By Keiko Talley
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

One of the greatest aspects of grad school is the friends you make during your time. Instantly, you find a group of people that are going through the same thing as you, so you befriend them. The people around you offer to review your work and let you know what you need to add or take out before submitting it. Everyone is in the same-pressured situation as you, so it’s easy to quickly form a bond that continues to grow stronger, like a family.

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I met some of the greatest friends my first month here at Boston University, and for that, I could not be more thankful. When one of us is down, the others are always there to pick us up. When we all have the same project to do, it turns into a night with dinner and homework, spent laughing way more than students should be while doing homework. Everyone within the program is more than willing to help each other out; they’re the ones I call to go out with on the weekends, and the same ones I ask to reread my work.

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But then you go home and think about why you’re in grad school and the job you want in a year or so. Suddenly, you can see your competition; she’s the girl sitting across from you in class with the nice outfit and perfect makeup. She is also the same girl you just went to the bar with last weekend. You look to your left, and you see more of your competition. He is Mr. Personality with great hair that everyone loves. He is also one of the guys you had lunch with yesterday. The friends you make in the classroom are also the competition you face in the field. “Look around, these people are going to be your friends. But these people are also your competition,” my TA said on the first day of class.

When I first heard her say that, I chuckled, as I found it hard to believe we would one: all become good friends and two: compete with each other. Sadly, it’s the truth. Mr. Personality may be one of the funniest friends I have here at BU, but he is also the one that’s going to apply to that position at the Boston Globe when you apply too.

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Although at the end of the day, this unique friendship-phenomenon has its advantages. That competitiveness we find within grad school, subconsciously motivates us to better ourselves; run faster, swim harder, speak better, smile bigger. Grad school gives you a sense of healthy competition. You’re competitive with your friends because you want to do better, but you are also friends with your competition. You’re able to learn from each other and grow together as a unit, which will bring you one step closer to that dream job after graduation.

If you’re a graduate student here at COM, I would love to hear any of your stories or thoughts on befriending your competition! Not a graduate student, but interested in becoming part of our COM family here at BU? Learn more about our graduate programs by visiting our website.

About COMGrad

Boston University College of Communication offers graduate degrees in Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations; Emerging Media Studies; Film & Television; and Journalism. The mission of the College of Communication (COM) is to provide an educational center of excellence focused on teaching, research and service in the study and professional practice of communication.

5 thoughts on “Classmates and competition in grad school

    1. Alex, one of the pictures in this post, which features you, is such a great example of that juxtaposition. I hope you all continue to learn from each other, while also enjoying the social life Boston has to offer 🙂

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